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Grey Goo

Jan. 1st , 2014

"Gray goo (also spelled grey goo) is a hypothetical end-of-the-world scenario involving molecular nanotechnology in which out-of-control self-replicating robots consume all matter on Earth while building more of themselves." - Wikipedia

Or perhaps it's looking at Spotify or the Kindle and realising that there's so much digital stuff with less and less to differentiate it that you can't be bothered to look for anything new. Maybe it's even finding something new and listening to it once or just reading the first few pages.

I even have stuff favourited and downloaded that I can't be bothered to listen to or read once. The grey screen of my Kindle has become its own grey goo. I'm not being eaten alive by self-replicating robots; I'm just losing the will to open books. And when I lose the will to engage with art, culture and information then the grey goo has won.

The fault doesn't lie with digital technology, it's just that I'm not connecting personally, deeply with the things that I once would have. The act of going into a shop and buying a book or a CD requires investment. It takes effort and time. So I work at it. I make sure I read the book. I listen to the CD a few times (even if I don't like it at first).

How do we replicate this personal investment for the digital age? How do we enter into that contract with the things that other people have created? It's not a social issue, it's a personal one. And I'm not sure we have the mechanisms for it yet.